About time for anti-hopping laws

KUCHING: A non-governmental organisation (NGO), Gerak Independent (GI), has urged Parliament to enact the long overdue anti-hopping laws.

It also urged Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and all political parties to be more stringent in its due diligence to ensure that only candidates with integrity and competency were fielded in the next general elections.

GI made this call following the defection of another two PKR MPs – Julau’s Larry Sng and Tebrau’s Steven Choong – to Perikatan Nasional (PN) recently.

In a media statement today, GI said with the latest defection, a total of 12 PKR MPs or 25 percent of its 48 MPs elected into office after the 14th general election had since defected to PN.

Expressing deep concern with the defection and condemning the culture of party hopping, GI said at the very least Parliament should recall election in seats where its MP defected.

In view of the defection, GI suggested that all political parties to clearly refine their due diligence and candidate selection process to be more in line with how GI carried its reviews of candidates.

GI said in accordance with its model, the rakyat selected candidates for parliamentary seats based on their progressive values, commitment to civil liberties, competency and integrity instead of criteria centred on loyalty to party leadership and seniority within the party.

The organisation admitted that Article 10 of the Federal Constitution did allow for freedom of association, however stressed that “GI rejects the justifications provided by both defecting MPs”.

“Instead we adopt the position that any elected representative is still able to serve the constituency even if funding allocations are withheld by the government.”

This would also mean that the government should adopt a strong moral position in ensuring all MPs were provided with sufficient allocations to ensure that no Malaysian was ever left behind in the future economic development of the nation, it added.

GI reminded all MPs that they were elected into office on the basis of declared manifestos and promises made in the run-up to general elections.

The public had expectations that promises made would be honoured, it added.

GI is a people-based movement that aims to ensure that only individuals of integrity are elected into public office.

In this regard, GI carries out stringent evaluation of its candidates that also involves the public in its evaluation process in order to ensure that only quality and competent individuals are fielded in the next general elections.

GI said it was fully committed to ending divisive politics and ensuring that all guaranteed freedoms and institutional powers were restored to the rakyat.